Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church’s Holiday Food Drive continues a 140-year tradition of feeding the hungry in their North Nashville community. The Gordon Cares ministry provides 150 families of four to six people with a holiday food basket, including a turkey for Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas.
Charles L. White Jr., Senior Pastor of Gordon Memorial UMC said “We believe we are a church that not only worships between invocation and benediction but that worships between benediction and invocation. Yes, we worship God throughout the week- being the face of Jesus to people we meet each and every day.”
Continuing its now 140-year history as a spiritual presence of feeding the hungry in their underserved community, Gordon Memorial hosts many other food programs throughout the year to feed those in need. In addition to the holiday food baskets, there are: A Meals-on-Wheels program, year-round food pantry, quarterly food drives, holiday food baskets as well as weekly meals provided for homeless and elderly members of the community.
Since the inception 30 years ago, the Meals-on-Wheels program serves 240 hot meals daily in July of each year through a partnership with Gordon Memorial’s Health and Welfare ministry and The Bethlehem Center. Gordon is one of 12 churches to select a month to fund, prepare and deliver the meals.
“Residents who otherwise would go without healthy meals receive a daily visit from a Christian loving person and an inspirational word from Gordon that we include inside each meal,” said White.
The Brother’s Keeper ministry, a group of men who are “second chancers” recently released from prison, or who have been on the streets, help load the trucks and deliver the baskets as a way of giving back to the community.
“It’s always a great thing to see men who came from hardship giving back to those in need,” said White.
Gordon Memorial also has food programs with a specific focus on seniors and those less fortunate in their community. The Best Years Club, an active ministry for senior adults, meets on Wednesdays for an exercise program, midday worship service and concludes with a hot meal. Hands of Hope gathers on Saturdays to serve meals to the homeless or anyone in need in the community.
In the summers, the church partners with Meharry Medical College, bringing black farmers in who offer fresh produce to the community at a reasonable price. Pastor White said the area around his church is a food desert, so this partnership not only benefits the farmers selling fruits and vegetables but gives the community healthy options that are otherwise difficult to find.
“Since 2014, Gordon Memorial also has served as a host site for Nashville Freedom School where children in grades K-8 learn critical thinking and discover how rich diversity makes our community great,” added Rev. White. “The program strengthens pride in themselves and their culture.” In addition, students are provided a balanced breakfast, lunch and a nutritious snack.
Kroger Community Rewards Program, another partnering organization with Gordon Memorial’s extensive food program, donates a percentage of the dollars spent by church members to continued support of Gordon Memorial’s feeding ministries and other similar programs in the community. Simply by registering your Kroger Plus card and swiping it every time you shop, Kroger allows parishioners and friends an easy way to give back to Gordon Memorial’s thriving ministries.
Additionally, Gordon Memorial has a day-to-day emergency food pantry available for anyone going through hardships. Once a quarter, the church makes a major push among the congregants to ensure the pantry is always fully stocked. Local organizations including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. also help gather donations.
The Hospitality ministry is the newest addition at Gordon Memorial UMC, involving a team of volunteers who prepare the building for use of meeting space for lunches, receptions, and other events. Volunteers perfect their skills to provide a superior level of service for those holding meetings at the church.
Rev. White said they do not have exact figures on how many citizens in the Nashville community they have served, but will continue the ministries providing a Christian presence in times of need for years to come.
If you would like to find out more about the food ministries at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, please contact Rev. Charles L. White, Jr. at 615-329-2779 or 410-458-3385; Whitejrcharles@aol.com.
About Gordon UMC:
Established in 1876, Gordon Memorial UMC is in the heart of historic North Nashville, nested between Tennessee State University, Meharry College and Fisk University. As a nexus between these great educational institutions, Gordon’s history has been rooted in community outreach and neighborhood empowerment. In 2014, Gordon Memorial established the Reclamation Center, a 501 (c)3 fostering community renewal, rediscovery and reconciliation and facilitates valuable services through our Freedom School, Gordon Cares, Hands of Hope and many other ministries. Visit their website at www.gordonmemorialumc.org.